49ers have a lot of work to do to complete talented roster

The 49ers have the reputation as a talented team which has underachieved. While they do have some premier players, a quick look at their roster shows they face just as many questions as their NFC West counterparts.  Starting at quarterback.

San Francisco is up next on our to-do list series. Here’s what they should do after the lockout:

1. Re-sign Alex Smith.

We figured we’d start with an easy one.  This is essentially a done deal; we’re curious to see the terms.  Is Smith worth a multi-year deal? (Probably not.) An addendum to this step: Cut David Carr.

2. Find a starting center.

2011 starter David Baas is a free agent. Eric Heitmann is coming off a neck injury and his status is uncertain. Baas figures to be a free agent priority because there really are no other good options at the position.

3. Get Michael Crabtree on the field in training camp.

It hasn’t happened consistently in his career, whether because of his rookie holdout or sophomore injury concerns.  For a player clearly not on the same page as the presumptive starting quarterback, getting some real on-field work in a new offense will be important for Crabtree.  The 49ers need Crabtree to be a difference maker.  Speaking of which . . .

4. Sniff around at wide receiver.

The 49ers have bigger needs, but don’t have many long-term solutions out wide. Josh Morgan is entering a contract year. Ted Ginn is unreliable.

5. Look at defensive tackles.

Aubrayo Franklin is a free agent and figures to cash in elsewhere.  Asking Ricky Jean-Francois to hold the fort may be asking too much.  This was a big need that wasn’t addressed in the draft.

6. Bring back veteran defenders.

Defensive end Ray McDonald will be one of the team’s top priorities, according to CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maiocco.  Only 26, McDonald could get decent offers elsewhere.  Inside linebacker Takeo Spikes also should return.  He has more value to the 49ers than anyone else and San Francisco is thin at the position.

7. Settle the secondary.

They just can’t bring back cornerback Nate Clements for $7.25 million.  Unless he’ll take a huge paycut, they should release him. Rookie Chris Culliver can help out at cornerback, but safety is a bigger concern.

Free safety Dashon Goldson is one of the most underrated players on the roster and may cash in on the open market. Early signs indicate the 49ers won’t “overpay” to keep him.  There isn’t a quality replacement on the roster.

8. Get the rookies up to speed.

This is true for all teams, but the 49ers are counting on rookies more than most. Colin Kaepernick needs a crash course in Harbaugh in case Alex Smith faceplants.  No.7 overall pick Aldon Smith needs to help the pass rush, especially with Manny Lawson likely leaving.

The 49ers would love running back Kendall Hunter to take pressure off Frank Gore and lighten Gore’s load.

13 responses to “49ers have a lot of work to do to complete talented roster

  1. couple things wrong here.
    One- Kendall Hunter is not the one that will take the load off of Gore. Dixon will and hes great at it. That is if they dont sign westbrook again.

    Two- If Goldson leaves I say you get Mays in there. I think he can turn out to be a great safety.

    Id like to see alot of these free agents resign and not go after the big bucks. Especially Franklin and Lawson. But I dont know how likely that is.

  2. I got to say this is a pretty good assessment of the niners. I couldn’t stand Alex Smith at times but I really know it was not his fault. We’ve had aweful coaching during his tenure, plain and simple. It’s going to be hard to choke down for a lot of niner faithful though. I agree with coach Harbaugh that it shows great character that Alex is will to take on the slings and arrows one more time.

    I especially liked the call for a veteran wide receiver. Now here’s something that will get me tons of thumbs down on my comment; look at TO. Owens has mellowed the last couple years. He’s still an ass, but I think that he could in some strange way, help Crabtree out. I’m a lot like TO, I could drive my bosses nuts with my defiant character but I produce with a strong work ethic foundation and it relieves a lot of pressure. I think Crab needs to learn this, and he’s not going to listen to some straight lined vet. It’s going to have to come from some other snot like TO.

    Offensive line is still shakey, all around. When oh when will the Niners make it a real priority? West Coast offense has to have a great O-line or it just doesn’t work. Better to slam poor Gore through it then try to get Alex to throw around it.

  3. David Baas has already said he wants to be back and I think resigning him is number 2 priority after Alex. Your “settle” the secondary” at number 7? We need to move that up to number 2b. The only consistency we had in the secondary was getting beat deep. I think it should be the Niners main priority in free agency other than our own players. We need speed back there, and at a minimum, decent play. After all that all we can do is pray that Alex has a breakout year and actually get some good play out of him, but I’m not holding my breath.

  4. alex smith sucks; they cant stop simple runs up the middle- these will ALWAYS go for 4-6yards; crabtree is a diva/locker room queen…

    7-9 in 2011-12 for the 40 whiners

  5. @pacificamjr

    the niners have been in the top 10 2 years running in stopping the run. As well as not allowing a single game 100 yd performance for 17+ games. Your argument is invalid.

  6. I’m thinking and hoping the Niners and Nate Clement will reach an accommodation for him to stay on at Free Safety. And “kevheavy” I don’t think your TO suggestion is at all bad. TO is quiet now, shown he is wiser, and his very presence would make an impact because he’s as good as any we’ve got. He’d be grateful to come full circle ’cause he does not have a lotta shots left – and he knows it.

  7. @Hendeeze

    Actually its closer to 23 games with non 100 yard runner., but your pretty right on. This was one the best team observations I’v seen this year. They do need a Vet Wide reciever( Malcolm Floyd, Santonio Holmes, Legedu Nene. Also if Franklin isn’t back how about Cullen Jenkins or Barry cofield for NT. Finally we need another CB besides N. Clements who has to take a major paycut. I thinking if not Nmandi how about a lower profile good corner like Jonathon Joseph or Richard Marshall from Fresno. I think that would be a pretty solid team. Go Niners

  8. I would also like to see Clements come back. He’s aging and gets beat deep too often, but he hasn’t been getting consistent help via pressure from the front 7.

    There’s talk of moving Soapoaga to NT when Franklin leaves (our pockets aren’t deep enough to keep him), which might work. Soap is a good run defender and he’s bigger than Francois, who is versatile enough to move outside. We could still use some depth though.

    I’d like to see a veteran receiver as well, but I don’t think T.O. is the answer. I want a guy that will mentor Crabtree, not a guy that has learned to shut up so he can get another 1-year deal. Also, T.O. would like to play for a contender if possible. With so many new pieces to the organization this year I’d say the Niners should be looking for improvement, not contention.

  9. The niners are a headless dog. They have some talent, but not at the neural centers of the team.

    No QB, No Owner, unproven coach (who will probably do fine, but is a question mark).

    Beyond that their best WR is a priss, they have a well used RB, recovering from a broken hip and tettering on being done, and their secondary is suspect.

    They play in a weak division is the only reason they will have a chance at playoffs. This is a medicocre to bad team.

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